The Yomiuri Giants beat Kenta Maeda in a close game again, and this time he helped them do it.
Takehiro Donoue spiced up his season debut with a game-tying double in the seventh, and Maeda threw a wild pitch that allowed the tiebreaking run to come home later in the inning as the Giants rallied for a 2-1 win in front of the 44,132 who braved the threat of an approaching typhoon on Tuesday night at Tokyo Dome.
“I had a feeling about Donoue and decided to start him tonight,” Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. “I’m glad I did. His two-base hit tied the game and set up our victory.”
Yomiuri snapped Hiroshima’s six-game winning streak.
“I knew the Carp were hot and it’s good we were able to stop their winning streak, especially when they beat us three straight in Hiroshima last week,” said Giants starter Tomoyuki Sugano, the winning pitcher.
Donoue, a Chunichi Dragons transplant, finished with a pair of hits and an RBI in a game that didn’t feature much offense. He was making his first start of the year for a Giants team that’s been beset by injuries.
“Maeda is a really good pitcher,” Donoue said. “I’m glad I was able to get two hits and tie the game in the seventh.”
Giants shortstop Hirokazu Ibata celebrated his 40th birthday with 2-for-3 night at the plate.
“I did not think of today as special,” Ibata said. “I just wanted to go out and play and see our team win.”
Sugano (4-4) pitched a good game for the home team and won for the first time since outdueling Maeda in a 1-0 game on April 22.
“It’s always a challenge when I am pitching against Maeda,” Sugano said. “I’m just glad I could come out on top tonight.”
Sugano threw one-run ball over seven innings, striking out three and walking two.
“He tried to locate his pitches, the slider, the fastball, and that’s the reason he pitched well today,” said Carp outfielder Rainel Rosario.
Reliever Scott Mathieson kept Hiroshima off the board in the eighth, and Hirokazu Sawamura worked the ninth for his 11th save.
Seven Carp players recorded a hit, including Maeda. Rosario drove in their only run with a double in the sixth that was also Hiroshima’s lone extra-base hit.
Maeda has been at his best against the Giants this year. He was good again on Tuesday, with a number of MLB scouts in attendance, allowing a pair of runs over eight innings. He struck out four, walked one, and hit two batters.
Three of his four decisions against the Giants this season have been decided by one run.
The Carp nearly gave their pitcher the lead in the first.
Kosuke Tanaka led off the game with a single and the Carp put the hit-and-run on with Ryosuke Kikuchi batting. Kikuchi singled to set up Hiroshima with runners on the corners and no outs, but Sugano retired the next three batters.
The Giants threatened in the second after consecutive one-out singles, by Ibata and Donoue, gave them runners on first and second. Shuichi Murata failed to get a run in, but Ibata was waved around third after Seiji Kobayashi lined a single into left.
Rosario gathered the ball and got the throw home in time for Tsubasa Aizawa to tag out Ibata and keep the game scoreless.
“I was just trying to throw the ball hard,” Rosario said. “I wanted to make a strong throw to the catcher.”
Yoshihiro Maru connected on a one-out single in the sixth, and scored from first on Rosario’s RBI double to get Hiroshima on the board.
The two former Chunichi teammates, Ibata and Donoue, linked up again in the seventh. Ibata reached on a one-out single, and this time Donoue drove him home with his game-tying double.
“Ibata was my teammate on the Dragons, so he is a good friend and it was nice we could win on his birthday,” Donoue said after the game.
Murata didn’t do any damage with a grounder to third, but it allowed Donoue to move up a base. Maeda plunked the next batter, Kobayashi, and then threw a wild pitch that allowed the eventual winning run to score.
“We were able to break through at the right time as it was getting late in the game,” Hara said.
Tigers at Swallows — ppd.
Dragons at BayStars — ppd.
Lions down Fighters
Seibu’s Ken Togame (4-1) won his fourth straight start, pitching into the ninth inning and striking out seven as the Lions defeated the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 5-2 in the Pacific League on Tuesday night.
The Fighters lost their third straight game.
Eagles 5, Buffaloes 4
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Kazuya Fujita drove in three of Tohoku Rakuten’s five runs as the Eagles edged Orix.
Hawks at Marines — ppd.